We have deep respect for Evo Morales. There is no doubt that he is one of those rare politicians who really cares and wants to improve the lives of poor people. That is just and very necessary. But because he does not know that there is a better system, he slides back to a proven inferior system known as socialism. Yes, he is a democrat and we respect him for that. And yes, he did not provoke the bloody unrest in his country. Yet, sadly, he is making a grave mistake.
In the long run he is not going to improve the lives of the poor. Russia did not. And Cuba has not. These countries have not, because socialism in the end will fail to produce sufficient goods and services for the masses. In all socialist countries the elite thrives. Not as abundantly as in capitalist countries, but they get by nicely. But the masses are poor.
As in Cuba. And that's not because of the trade embargo against Cuba. That's the lie the regime uses to explain the truth away. The truth is that the socialist model is economically inferior to the capitalist economic model. And the moral basis of socialism (envy and hatred of capitalists) is not appreciably better than the moral basis of capitalism (limitless greed).
Although Evo's party is plainly called 'Movimiento al Socialismo' (MAS), it may yet turn out he means 'social democracy'. Now, if he does, Bolivia will at least make some progress. This is because 'social democracy' in its Western form recognizes that there should remain some room for private enterprise. This private sector then becomes the engine of the economy, whose profits are subsequently skimmed off and redistributed in various ways (mainly wages for a huge corps of government officials and welfare). In a social democracy the private sector basically is the government's 'cash-cow' keeping the system going.
But inherent in this system is a mechanism which will always keep wages low. Because workers cannot compete against machines. For a relatively small amount of money most companies can replace workers by machines. That is why in a social democracy there is always a downward pressure on wages, reinforced by constant price-rises and inflation. Tax havens, furthermore, provide the owners with a means to deal with excessive taxes. Experience with social democracies has shown that workers are a bit better off than in strictly socialist states, but the great majority of the population will never really climb out of poverty.
So social democracy will work to a certain extent. But scarcity will still prevail. This is because the profit motive is subdued, whereas the redistribution-recipients (such as government officials) tend to under-produce. Therefore, if social democracy turns out to be Evo's model, he will have some success, as indeed he already has. But before long he will hit a ceiling. To break through that ceiling, other measures need to be taken. Not socialist, not capitalist, but solidarist (the Just Third Way; see www.cesj.org and http://www.binaryeconomics.net).
As sure as the Sun, Solidarism will break through
It is a known fact that to convey a new message it has to be repeated over and over again in various contexts for the reader to become aware of the fact that there is a new message out. Once he is aware of that, he will begin to take notice. Therefore, we repeat. There is an economic model that is both morally and materially superior to both capitalism and socialism. We call it 'Solidarism, the Just Third Way'. In our Caribbean Knowledge Center (www.arcocarib.com) you can find various documents elaborating on this model. Click on 'economy' and then on sub-category 'binary economics'.
In the meantime we wish Evo and the Bolivian people well. But we insist that he is betting on a losing horse. This will not be obvious at first, but as time goes by, the Bolivian people will come to see it. If only we could reach Evo and show him the blueprint for a new civilization based on the binary economic model, we are sure he would go for it. But, alas, we do not have that opportunity yet. In the meantime, we refer to the Real News video outlining some of Evo's ideas and accomplishments.